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Bags of blood plasma. Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

Mexicans are regularly crossing the border on temporary visas to sell their blood plasma to pharmaceutical companies, ProPublica reports with ARD German TV.

The big picture: Donors can take home up to $400 a month if they donate twice a week, and then earn extra cash through incentives like recruiting friends or family. For some, it's their only income.

Between the lines: The U.S. has less stringent guidelines than other countries around blood plasma donations, allowing them to be done at a higher frequently.

  • Donating too often can hurt the donor's immune system, and the long-term consequences are unknown.
  • The U.S. is the largest global supplier of blood plasma, and 43 of the 805 U.S. donation centers are located along the southern border. Employees at some of the centers estimated that between 60% and 90% of their donors are Mexican citizens.

The legality of crossing the border for this reason — or of collecting plasma from the people who do — is unclear.

  • While U.S. immigration law doesn't allow temporary visas to be used for employment, the plasma companies say that their payments are "compensation," not wages.

Go deeper: The U.S. doesn't spend less on social care than other developed countries

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
15 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.